Covid-19 deaths continue to creep up with 321 victims in England and Wales last week

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The number of deaths from coronavirus in England and Wales has surged for the fourth week in a row, official figures reveal, but only one person under 30 has died from the virus since August.

Covid-19 was mentioned on 321 death certificates in the week ending October 2, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), accounting for 3.2 per cent of all fatalities. This marked a 49 per cent rise on the 215 deaths recorded the previous week, and almost double the 139 deaths recorded a fortnight ago.

Just one of the 1,373 fatalities to occur from Covid-19 since August was under 30, and only 97 were under the age of 59, once again highlighting the devastating impact Covid-19 is having on older age groups. Registered deaths involving the virus increased in seven out of nine regions in England.

The ONS divides figures by date death occurred and date death was registered by officials. A spokesman said this can produce a discrepancy in the numbers as a death may occur in one week, but not be registered until the next. But they said the registered figure, which is when a death certificate is issued, is used in their data because it is when a death from Covid-19 has been confirmed.

Despite fatalities rising across the board, weekly deaths are still a fraction of what they were during the darkest days of the crisis, when there were 8,800 victims a week. And flu and pneumonia are still killing more than three times the number of people as coronavirus, with 1,155 people succumbing to the respiratory illness in the last seven days.

Meanwhile deaths in private homes are remaining above the average – with 725 – while they continue to remain below the average in hospitals and care homes.

Experts say many people are still too scared to use the NHS for fear of catching Covid-19, while others don’t want to be a burden on the health service. Hospitals are still scrambling to get services back up and running and cut down record waiting lists after months of operating at a fraction of their capacity. 

This pie chart shows the number of deaths that occurred from coronavirus between August 1 and October 2 broken down by age, according to the ONS. It shows only one of the fatalities was recorded in the under 30s age category. Death occurrences are different from registered deaths as not every death in this number will have been issued with a death certificate

This pie chart shows the number of deaths that occurred from coronavirus between August 1 and October 2 broken down by age, according to the ONS. It shows only one of the fatalities was recorded in the under 30s age category. Death occurrences are different from registered deaths as not every death in this number will have been issued with a death certificate

Deaths from Covid-19 surged the most in those aged 80 to 84 years compared to last week, according to the ONS, where 29 more fatalities occurred and the total rose from 42 to 71. The number of deaths remained higher in older age groups, with those over 80 accounting for 56.7 per cent of all deaths from Covid-19.

There was one death in the under 30 category in an individual aged between 25 and 29 years old. 

As many as 53,187 fatalities in England and Wales have Covid-19 on their death certificates up to October 2, accounting for 11.5 per cent of all deaths in the UK nations since the start of this year.

Lockdown will ‘probably’ have to get tougher, admits minister

A senior minister today admitted lockdown will ‘probably’ have to get tougher after it was revealed Boris Johnson overruled SAGE demands for a national ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown three weeks ago.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick conceded the government is poised to ‘go further’ after the PM unveiled his new ‘Three Tier’ system of local restrictions – but only put Merseyside in the harshest category that will see pubs and bars shut.

Mr Jenrick pointed to high rates of infection in areas such as Greater Manchester and Nottingham, appealing for local leaders to agree terms to move up from Tier Two.

But he dismissed claims that the government was not being ‘robust’ enough, after bombshell documents slipped out late last night showed its own scientific advisers wanted much more dramatic action.

Andrew Hayward, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at University College London and another SAGE member, said he did not think the restrictions included in Tier 3 would result in the R rate being pushed below one.

‘I think it is very disappointing that we had clear advice – we needed to take decisive action several weeks ago,’ he told Today.

‘And really since that time, all we’ve done is send students back, introduced the rule of six, advised people to work from home if possible but not really promoted that in any real way and closed the pubs an hour early.

‘So it’s not really surprising that we’re continuing to see large increases in cases and that those increases are being seen around the country.’

He added: ‘I think it is clear that even at the ‘very high’ levels of restrictions – so-called – that they will not be sufficient to reduce R below one.’

In Scotland there were 4,276 fatalities registered where Covid-19 was mentioned since October 4, according to the National Records for Scotland. 

And in Northern Ireland there were 902 fatalities up to October 2, according to the UK nation’s Statistics and Research Agency.

The estimate is far above the Department of Health’s tally of 42,875, because the ONS includes people who have not tested positive for the virus but were suspected of suffering from the disease.

The 321 victims from Covid-19 this week accounted for 3.2 per cent of all deaths in England and Wales, a higher proportion than last week where they were only 2.2 per cent.

Deaths from all causes were 390 above the five-year average expected for this time of year, the fourth consecutive week in which this figure has been exceeded. 

Experts say this number should eventually fall below the average, as Covid-19 caused many people to die earlier than had been expected.

The North West had the largest number of deaths, 106, and highest proportion of deaths, 8.1 per cent due to Covid-19. It was also the region where the largest increase in deaths from the virus was recorded, with 46 additional fatalities.

Liverpool was highlighted as the only area to go into a tier-three lockdown yesterday in response to a surge in cases and hospital admissions. The measures, which would see pubs, gyms and other hospitality venues forced to close the doors. 

They will be put to Parliament today, and are expected to come into force from Wednesday. 

The West Midlands and the South West were the only regions to have fewer deaths involving Covid-19 than last week, with two and five fewer deaths.

The number of deaths involving Covid-19 compared to last week also increased in hospitals, by 90, in care homes, by eight, and in private homes, by nine.

The only location in which deaths from the virus fell were hospices, where they dropped by two.

Figures show that Covid-19 accounted for 6.1 per cent of all fatalities in hospitals, a rise from 4.1 per cent the week before.

It also increased from two to 2.3 per cent in care homes.

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